The ASPO-USA annual conference has been the premier gathering of Peak Oil experts and concerned citizens, and the 2011 and seventh annual conference was no different. We continue to be amazed at the diversity of conference attendees—from geologists, petroleum engineers, corporations, and investors to small business owners, farmers, community organizers, educators, and students. These different constituencies come with different goals and interests, but they all share a profound concern about Peak Oil and the energy challenges we face.
The day before the conference officially commenced, two diverse groups of conference attendees set out on a whirlwind tour of Capitol Hill to participate in meetings with congressional staffers. The first day of conference sessions began in the Congressional Auditorium at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center. The energy in the room was charged as 300 attendees listened to U.S. Representatives Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) and Mike Honda (D-CA) discuss the state of the Peak Oil and energy debate in the Halls of Congress. There is obviously much work to do to gain the attention of policymakers and the American public, but seeing a large audience gathered in such an auspicious location to discuss Peak Oil, with the support of two senior Members of Congress—one had to acknowledge how far this issue has come in a few short years.
Over two days of conference sessions, speakers from a variety of backgrounds provided updated analysis and perspectives on oil and energy trends and their implications for the economy and financial markets, national security, social welfare, the environment, and other critical dimensions.
The conference concluded with special Saturday workshops and roundtable discussions. It was a day where the script was reversed, participants did the majority of the talking, while conference presenters and other guest experts listened and added comments. Interactive sessions like these as well as networking time throughout the conference are a big reason that many people attend the conference year after year. Some reported the chance to sit in a room with eminent Peak Oil experts and many other people with a strong grasp of Peak Oil issues was the highlight of the conference, and many valuable ideas were generated. ASPO-USA will be building on these ideas and continuing to harness the energy of the conference over the coming year.